Sunday, 18 August 2019

Life Brings about Suffering (no need to bring more suffering to life)

Yesterday I participated in a motorcycle ride organized by a group of riders in Victoria with an eye toward raising funds which enables then to extend a "helping hand" to families that are brought to their attention and they decide as a group how the funds will be distributed.

I don't know how far we rode (I'm going to guess it was probably between 2 and 3 hundred kilometres) by the time you considered getting to the starting venue and getting home when all was said and done.

The first portion of the day was mercifully overcast and made the ride very comfortable. Nothing to do but enjoy the scenery and some connection at the various slated stops (the "event" was a "Poker Run" so at each stop you drew a card with which to build a poker hand at the end (there were cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place finishes).

As I said the ride was, enjoyable enough and it was a good feeling to recognize the money raised was all going to a good local cause (minus the expenses of running the event).

Though a "charity" event my attention was drawn toward the old adage, "charity begins at home.." (I haven't now gone and extensively researched the writers original intent with that idea) - but I take it to mean, the "good works" need to be consistently and necessarily applied toward ones own life before directing care and attention outward (or at least they need occur simultaneously).

As it turns out most of the participants would be among what could be deemed my "peers" - some a little older, maybe some a little younger; though as I sat and considered being part of the "conversations" at the check-points (which frequently are pubs/pub-style restaurants) - I quickly realize - first of all, I don't drink. Now not entirely an impediment to inclusion, as I would say that generally the consumption was very low. As I listened to the popcorn style topics, looking for where I might engage - I soon realize, wow there are a lot of conversations around, declining health, the "old-age pension," etc. Those present, are reflecting on those no longer present, some present are on the rebound from medical realities that forbid them to participate with the same vigour that they once had. Questions abound (spoken & un-spoken) what is the prognosis for recovery? What will be the new "normal?" Could "this" happen to me?

I fully realize that just to ride a motorcycle has some inherent risk. However, I also have met and am aware of others (through media stories) that where mowed down in cross-walks while walking by motor-vehicles while they had the right-of-way." So let's be clear, there is no risk-free living!!

Just the same, this group of people seemed to share in a resounding theme of generally unhealthy choices... Some proclaiming surprise (at still being alive) - I get that, I completely understand - though I lean more into gratitude for my life (most of the time) and can really see reflected through contrast - that my efforts toward wellness over the last over thirty-two years seem to be fruitful - even considering that within that time frame I have undergone various (for example) physical transformations & then systematically undone them. Still I've been blessed not to have the litany of surgeries, maladies etc.

Don't get me wrong - pensions (or some form of ongoing financial income stream is a reality for me too - as far as I know) - I haven't had some flash of inspiration as to how to skirt that need altogether. If anything I've lived like there was no tomorrow & the repercussions of this maybe yet fully unknown. I am curious ongoing what the scriptural reference brings to bear on this matter.

19: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth
and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor
rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:


"Live and let live" rings through my thoughts.. I don't sit in judgement of what is going on around me - I do wonder where I go to find connection (but that's an ongoing story) certain it can be found even within desparately seeming circles...) I found some humanity in one of the participants that was still a member of the Canadian armed forces (ironically not where I would think to look for it) he had served in a number of different "tours of duty.." I generally don't embrace his need or anyone else's to be serving in such capacity - but he had been in parts of the world where I have been blessed to visit and I felt for his having been there in such horrific times and could at least embrace his belief for himself to do so.

I didn't want a "heavy meal" in my gut to ride with the rest of the day and (as noted in a recent post) my food intake is getting a revision anyway. My body seems happy overall with a no meat diet - so be it.. The only vegetable product elsewhere in my midst was the ketchup (oh & some onion rings) - I even heard of something called poutine/onion rings. I don't care how good any of this tastes in the moment... I know the after-math for myself.. Those that had ordered mountains of this fare - were then trying to pass off their left-overs (this proclaimed as an overture of mindfulness)... One guys rings out - I'm eating healthier these days because "my old lady" tells me I have to!!!"

Meanwhile I'm trying to live a life of personal responsibility - not to mention that if there should be any women in my life on an ongoing basis - they are not "old lady.." nor any other derogatory reference.

For God sake - eat healthy because it will effect the quality of your life - if you want to eat otherwise then enjoy that & not make it about someone else.

I am at a loss with this crowd.. to discuss what I know intimately about my bike might comprise a few sentences (& that only because, I'm never succinct about anything). My gender/sexuality etc. is not defined by how "large I live" or how self-abusive conduct myself. If I make an unhealthy food choice, I don't need someone to make that okay for me - increasingly I'm becoming aware when I'm doing that as a means to escape. Sometimes I just want to enjoy and cold cone on a hot day.

I might have known that various bastions of "old boys" thinking would hold-up in motorcycle groups (actually some of the women where more "macho" than me) & this is largely a group of "bikers" that have day jobs and have or are raising families (they are not on anyone's "most wanted list..") - just a slice of humanity that happen to like to ride motorcycles.

My point is not to point out the short-comings of others - it's more my recognition that I'm not going to continue abusing myself to fit in with any group of people. It's also sad for me to have a want for connection - but find so much challenge in that. Sure I can "hold my centre," but it gets tiring living what I identify as in the best interest of my well-being & have it be continually scrutinized by those that choose otherwise.

At the final venue (where there was to be "split the pot" draws) and door prizes - the vast majority of the group sat at the outside tables in the direct sun.... I was in heavy jeans and a couple layers of protective upper body clothing (work style shirt with elbow, should and low back "armour" & a leather vest.... I helped out some with the selling of the 50/50 tickets because I know of the value of "being of service" after that it was too friggin' hot so I went inside. Ordinarily I would have taken the layers of any even got a little sun - I don't generally care for sun "bathing" (or too much heat) & on this occasion I had two-day old tattoo work that definitely doesn't benefit from being in the direct sun.....

Eventually seeing me sitting in the much cooler climes of the pub - a few others joined me ("it's too friggin' hot out there!!!!) - "No shit, I'm thinking...." for me, it has been a life-long challenge to be me (not specifically because of my life-circumstances) more that in the company of others, as the numbers increase - I have been known to "follow the crowd.." The price of this is profound misery and as far as I can see:

Misery doesn't actually enjoy company - it's just a chorus of misery.. I empathize &, I want more, for me and all beings - I can have an impact on others through my choices, but the greatest impact still seems to be for me personally. 

"Each to their own,"  & "To Thine Own Self be True"

R. O'Neill (August 18, 2019)



Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Each Tear a Blessing




With each tear drop
A sovereign foothold
is 
Reclaimed

A stifled voice
Rings out
From exile 
Renouncing
A life-long
Muzzle
Shaking loose
Ancient bondage
As 
A heart
Reaches tentatively
At first
Though 
Not for long

Each taste
Quickens
The pace

Now stalwartly
&
Unceasingly
Reaching
For 
The embrace
Of
It's Creator


R. O'Neill (August 14, 2019)

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Approaching "The Golden Years..." - Fuck that!!

All things remaining equal, in a little more than two weeks, I'll be turning sixty! For those of you that have already reached and exceeded this milestone, this of course is "water under the bridge," and of no significance. The major distinction is, that it is happening to me!

There has been quite a run-up to this pending occasion... yes, right you are "Mr. Wizard," some fifty-nine years!! some of the smart-alecks in the crowd might quip.

However the time I'm referring to is framed by a period of time that evades me, some now nebulous yesterdays, that has been obscured by either my increasing moment to moment presence (subsequently I'm then so completely ensconced in the here & now that I can't remember shit about what happened previously) or I'm just plain losing my mind.

At any rate some time ago I realized damn I'm "too young to feel this damn old.." a combination of personal circumstances combined and conspired to render my previous fitness level into what could have been utilized as the quintessential "before" photo. I won't go into the details - mostly because no one gives a rat's ass, suffice to say there had been too much of somethings and not nearly enough of others.

Upon taking note of my declined functioning - I thought, "fuck this," and proceeded to revamp my lifestyle. I would love to say this time it's for keeps, however, I won't be so smug or pretentious. Today I'm motivated to be mindful of my wellness - I'm not so arrogant, that I will suppose to sustain model excellence.

Here's what I know, I'm not going to become a lab rat for Pfizer et al - once again, fuck that! I will do everything in my power to reverse the decline and sustain my wellness naturally - if that doesn't work then, I will break on through, the same way.

I recently visited a Naturopathic doctor - (previous to this visit my diet etc. had already undergone some significant changes) of course there were still those harbingers of my compulsions; that were stamped for expulsion, now that the visit has occurred. In case you haven't availed yourself to one of these very comprehensive health professionals, Naturopath (loosely translated) means: "Supreme Remover" (something like Ganesh - no not in appearance, I don't want any misunderstanding of my meaning)... Ganesh of course is the "remover" of obstacles - this is fitting. At first one might think that which is being removed, is the very enjoyment of life. While actually to be restored to wellness and vitality is a genuine gift, therefore to "remove" the barriers to that, is a most worthwhile pursuit, in my estimation.

I already had attained continuity with the gym and a morning stretching and meditation time. Now I can not only touch my toes (though still a little tight) I can see them too!

We are operating on the premise that my digestive tract needs renewal. I thought I was just working at developing my own natural gas alternative to fossil fuels. Turns out yes Rob you are advancing in age, and no - that much gas is not "natural." Probably just as well, maybe by Autumn, this will all be made right and I won't then need to worry, about attending any Samhain bonfires and blowing myself and any in near proximity, into orbit.

So now, some foods to now exclude, a variety of digestive enzymes and probiotics now occupy space on my counter and are to take up residence in my colon (easily consumed with apple sauce) Fuck I'm getting supplements in apple sauce now! This is a far cry from the vision I had decades ago, of being ushered off the rock; in a haze of sex, drugs and rock & roll...

That didn't happen .... I began to seek the spiritual answer to my addictions, thirty years later I discovered I was addicted to the spiritual answer - as well as food, exercise, the internet, spending money...... (but for the love of God... I stayed sober!!!)

The whole thing has taken my head from out of my ass, and force-fed me my humanity and maybe a smattering of fucking humility......

I frequently am visited now, by the repressed grief (that was exiled so many years ago) which collides with tears of joy and wonderment - time will tell whether a "Spiritual awakening," is underway or just a garden variety "nervous-breakdown.." - again, who give a shit?? Unless I sold a million copies of "7 ways to turn your nervous breakdown into your dream lifestyle".....  Then  wouldn't the masses sit up and take notice.. Mercenary bastards!!

An overriding want, nay demand, for authenticity now dogs my every breath.... I spend considerably less time now on Facebook anyway (no there's nothing "wrong" with social media - it just happens to be one of the myriad of ways I've attempted to "numb out.." anyway the other day, I was deleting shit and mowing through people like an assassin. I "answered the call...." at some points in time - naively thinking that people actually wanted to "be my friend" - great I thought, the 21st century version of "pen-pals" - well that didn't happen! More names were amassed, as I worked at getting word of my book - "out there." That may have marginally worked, but - I look at all those names, some of which I have actually exchanged a chat or two with - many that don't give me the time of day, unless I reach out first ( again & again) .... Not anymore!!!

The naturopath wants me to have a regular physical exam (and associated blood work)... never had one of those - I guess I'll need to drop into some random clinic; apparently my G.P. retired I was told through a chance meeting with a childhood friend... No thanks for the memories (or the shares of the payments made on my BMW that your visits provided) - frankly, no we closing the practice, here's the names of other GP's accepting patients... who knows even what became of my medical records..

Anyway I wasn't particularly a frequent flyer - I always felt she was overly-fond of unnecessary diagnostic misery, so I didn't go much..

In a way I envy those that have such unbending convictions about some avenue of spirituality or another (even though I think their full of shit...) I still seek the "Spiritual answer...." for myself

I plan to spend less time reading what every Tom, Dick and Harry have to say (those were the less well known apostles..) maybe move to a small beach community and - tune-out, turn off, and unplug.....

I am no stranger to suffering and human angst..... that said, likely no more than anyone else.. Still mine, is my responsibility.. So I respect the views beliefs of others - I will not follow you anywhere and I certainly won't bow to what you believe in... I will bow, to the right to bow to whatever you choose!

So if you find yourself "unfriended," - don't take it personally (or do) I can't see the point of thousands of dormant names, on thousands of lists, on dozens of social media, upon which nobody says anything, to anybody.

If you have special request to be de-listed "personal message" me - I'll give you a special send off. I'll light a candle, as I return your name to its rightful residence.

As I sit here now I consider "60" might well be the portal to my becoming an "instrument of thy peace...."

But it's entirely possible, that I need to purge a whole lot of Piss and Vinegar first!

R. O'Neill (August 13, 2019)


Friday, 19 July 2019

Back in the Saddle

As I enter this space it feels both familiar and entirely new. There was a time when I frequented this environment often, sometimes multiple times in the same day, The writing was plentiful and seemed to present with ease and fluidity. I suppose it would be an interesting exercise for me to revisit some of my past perspectives to see if there were any continued resonance.

I hadn't considered that I would "stop" writing, of course I hadn't really considered that I would "start" either.  There was no sense of being "blocked," while at the same time, to consider continuance of what I considered an avenue of my expression which I highly valued, was being thwarted by it occurring to me, I had nothing to say.

I don't "know," I have anything to say now. I just made the decision to sit down and say something. Writing presented in my life six or seven years ago. I hadn't "planned" it and and exerted precious little preparation to assume the status of "a writer." I subscribed then, to the idea that expression sought an outlet and found me available - with no other pressing engagements, along with two feet (& hands) a heartbeat and a keyboard. The pursuit has opened a number of doors both internally and those that formed, various unexpected life experiences. It hasn't landed me on a best-sellers list, garnered critical acclaim - it did apparently lead to a "readership;" one I didn't actively cultivate and due to my extended absence, I suppose haven't nurtured either. My apologies to any that might have developed the habit of connecting with this avenue of my life. I really don't know, to what degree my writing might have been positively impactful for anyone else. I can say that I sincerely envision, fostering an intention, to offer some measure of quality; which both reflects authenticity and I hope represents time well spent, for those that invest their time in reading.

I have been deeply immersed for over a year now, in some different avenues of healing work. I also arrived at the decision to quit the job I was doing over the last 3 1/2 yrs. I began another part time employment direction, all of which has led to a significantly changing life orientation.

As I consider my writing in the past, I suspect (again without yet having revisited it in any meaningful way) that I truly wanted to present as though I really "knew," what I was talking about. Presently I'm not wishing to dismiss all I have done, but also acknowledge that some of the pain (shame) that I have worked through of late tells me, I couldn't bare to be seen as "not knowing." God knows if it actually convinced anyone else, that I was the voice of authority, but I put a lot of words into trying to paint that picture. That same shame fuelled my deep sense of self-doubt and incessant self-criticism, which was forever undermining my credibility, most certainly in my own eyes.

Today from a more consistent practice of self-love which has included the willingness to feel and grieve long repressed parts of my life; I believe I have something to say now, which isn't necessarily indicative of "mastery," enlightenment or that I have "awakened," or reached any state of advanced consciousness, nor do I reckon it matters, if I do or don't.

I am vastly more connected to my heart and more than ever, the hearts of others. I also know there is untold continued knowing available within every heart (mine included). I don't maintain that I am a "light-worker," star-seed, healer etc. - to be honest, I'm not entirely sure what would place me in these various categories - I do know, they are not necessary in order to, be me. As far as I know, I don't channel anything... I'm hard-pressed to remember the various passwords I have for this online world. I may be the rest of my life, trying to learn how to effective express myself and communicate with the beings on this planet, maybe I'm not meant to channel other beings.

I certainly believe in a "power greater than myself;" that, is still a relationship, I am exploring for myself - I won't be seeking disciples or starting any movements anytime soon. I would love more people to suffer less - I don't have the answers pertaining to how that is going to take place. I'm finding safety and trust to experience the sources of my own suffering, and enjoying release and greater ease along the way.

Does that mean I now know, how it all works? Not exactly!!  I have a continued practice of "Honesty, Open-mindedness & willingness," concepts I was introduced to a very long time ago. The focus might vary - but these three principles continue to be valuable guides. I have less time to engage the distraction of what "everyone else is up to." I don't discount the paths of others. Still, my heart may well determine, it to be a clear - no thank you.. I have spent extended periods of time, trying to belong where my heart had already said - No! It hurts! And it doesn't hurt any less, through continued ignoring it.

Maybe I'll never be a "spiritual guide, or leader," I might live long enough to become more masterful at determining where I need to be,  I don't know if that will help anyone else. I sure know being where I'm not meant to be, doesn't help anyone.

Maybe that's where this particular post ends. I have an up island destination in mind for this afternoon and early evening - I'm not getting any closer sitting here, and I feel my energy being pulled away.

The other thing is, the air-conditioning is on in this coffee shop, and it's not comfortable sitting here, cold in fact. No merit in suffering further, just to write more - so then, until another time.




Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Stay-cation



Where then
Will
I build
My 
Dream abode

That which 
Will be
Hearth
Home
Fortress
Sanctuary
Oasis
Temple

High upon
The mountain tops

Upon 
Desert or Plains?

Deep 
In the forest

Along
The seaside

A wispy
Ethereal call
Echoing
Throughout
Lifetime

Leads me
To 
The door
Of my heart

Once open
All
The universe
Is laid
Bare 
At my feet

Heart 
Is where
The home 
Is

Stray not 
From 
It's 
Loving embrace


R. O'Neill (May 22, 2019)

Friday, 17 May 2019

Food for Thought

As much as I enjoy going out for food, which I might be hard-pressed to stop entirely; the cost of doing so is moving steadily toward being annoying in not prohibitive. I don't frequent the higher end establishments (due as much as anything to my not finding any of it worth the pretence, line-up or cost). I also don't eat in greasy spoons, fast food or soup kitchens (I have, but at present gratefully I don't have the need). So then too low on the spectrum & one is hard pressed to find anything healthy - too far in the other direction and you're paying for "ambiance" I don't care that much about.

Even still to ply the waters of the "middle of the road" is getting fricken expensive!! I just paid fourteen some on dollars for a salad and sandwich (granted organic this that & the other thing ....) Even at that I'm asked, "will there be anything more?"

I felt like saying, "No actually you've raped my sensibilities and wallet quite enough for now thanks!" This was before tip!! A practice that I indulge, but I generally don't enjoy, especially at this type of cafeteria tray line style place (which also features a hot beverage & smoothie bar) - all they do is ring in the cost of your meal. No coming to your table, taking your order, deliver the food, social lubricating banter - they just thrust a total into your hand via the debit terminal which conveniently posts and presumes a tip (some even default to a 20% or greater amount - which means you then must hunt & peck your way through a tip menu selection that you feel better about or a customized one.

It irritates me that I'm paying gross markup on the food and then I'm expected to subsidize the employee's wage. ("oh they work so hard and they aren't payed that well...") that may well be true, but why is Joe or Joelene's business plan holding me hostage to the vision of their annual income? The short answer would be because I let them!

If the employees want/need more money, then let them organize - collectively walk off the job and value themselves. It's not up to me to finance their choice to be there.

I don't get any "tips." Well, except when I'm busking. Thirty odd years in health care .... Nada! Of course most of those institutions, agencies etc. have mandated policies prohibiting "staff" from accepting gratuities. No doubt some throw back to old school mainstream religion, that suggests that  to be of service is reward enough!!.. To be sure it does have its intrinsic rewards. But that false virtue in turning down appreciation in whatever form, and martyrdom consciousness that is perpetuated in health care is bullshit! Nothing but a lot of cockeyed ethics - created by upper management types that make damn sure their well rewarded for drafting policies that devalue the people actually providing the service.

I'm starting to reason that in order to eat out, and eat well as often as I do - I would need to be working a great deal more than I want to work. To do so would negate any value I gain from "healthy food choices" - due to the stresses of over-working.

There is a ridiculous array of food in our society - so much of which goes to waste. At the risk of flogging a tired supposition.. I believe the reason for the food related insanity is none other than addiction/compulsion (and it's underlying disconnection, shame and the collective wounds of all that are willing to pay over-inflated prices to over-inflate their stomachs as they tie on the feed bag for any number of reasons (beyond the basic need for nutrition).

Of course I'm not suggesting a meal out alone or with friends, family, loved ones, is problematic (accept on those occasions and for they, for whom it is).

It can quite readily become part of a complex financial sabotage. Money, food, eating out, health, wellness.... All can be spokes on an overall wheel of optimal living or they can be a weave of nothing particularly good. It's all in how they are used (the underlying motivations).

The winds of change are blowing through my corridors. I'm aware that there's only one person I can change. So pointing out my perceptions of the foibles of the world, won't bring the necessary changes to my life. However along the way - it will become more clear how I need to roll. The rest of the world can continue to spin as it may.

R. O'Neill (May 17, 2019)


Making it Real

In my last blog I mentioned some of the various "practices" that I was implementing into my life and alluded to them being part and parcel of my "spiritual path."

I don't expound on spirituality being an important focus in my life in order to brag or with the intentions of setting myself apart from others (at least I don't anymore). Life has a way of sorting out unhelpful ego-feeding motivations - certainly that has been true for me. It's not my business why anyone else does whatever they choose to do.

A "spiritual" lens is that which gives me a paradigm, through which I am able to address my ongoing wellness.

So when I describe the inclusion of yoga for example - I'm not laying claim to any moral high ground. I am not about to change my name to Paramanhansa Robananda. To gain some insight into my electing to incorporate some daily yoga - you would need to walk a mile in my shoes. More to the point, in my entire body. I am endeavouring to prevent what I will describe as "living rigor mortis." I have a great deal of rigidity throughout my body. Yes I have and am, considering the mental, emotional and spiritual mindsets that have contributed to this. Regardless of the levels of being, that are addressed by ongoing healing work .... I believe it important to address "the physical" directly as well.

I purchased a series of 15 min. yoga routines (which were said to be appropriate for beginners and intermediates) so that I can work at them in the privacy of my own home. Even at that, I'd say the videos would be more readily performed by someone with more experience (flexibility). I can't transition from one pose to another, at the rate the instructor is going. By the time I get into my version of a given pose - she's already in the next one. Once I bend this and twist that, there's not a hope, that anything is going to be looking up or pointed at the ceiling. I can of course go at my own pace and I can flat out refuse, to do that which my body is not ready for. It's been three consecutive days since I started & I've already had some choice words for this video instructor. What can I say, that was the "stuck energy" that was there to be released. I've yet to experience a yoga class that was truly geared toward beginners. It would seem most instructors are more interested in flaunting what they've got, than working within the considerable limitations of someone at my stage of immobility. Yoga studios are businesses ... they need to fill the classes in order to generate the income - they cater to those that don't need the care & attention. It's just another westernized field of consumption, competition and elitism.

I know enough about physiology and my body can tell me the rest to be able to create what I need - when I need it, without spending a fortune and no need to clad myself in the pretence of Lulu Lemon.

It's been a few months since I drank coffee on a regular basis. I love coffee. Coffee does not love me. Time and time again, I have conducted the experiment on coffee, off coffee - the fact remains I experience some unpleasant (and eventually painful) physiological side effects from  drinking coffee and they all disappear when I stop. Therefore the loving decision is to eliminate it. I doesn't matter about it's widespread popularity, the social culture built around it - the bottom line is, it fucks me up. Any other consideration is irrelevant.

So my "spiritual path" is very personal. By this I don't mean I wouldn't share about it, with anyone that was interested. I mean, I'm not advocating that anyone - do what, what I do. I'm always following "hunches" - tweaking this, trying that - paying attention to what works and fosters for me the greatest sense of well-being. Spirituality to me means a deep and ongoing connection to myself, ongoing self-honesty, alignment & authenticity - that is where I'm pointed. I neither seek to be a hermit - but I certainly have no interest in following any crowd, anywhere. I can't find my centre following anyone else. Who the hell knows where they are going?  Least of all them, in many cases!

I'm not saying coffee is evil!  Or that,Yoga makes me some sort of exemplary human being. Most of my life the only stretching I've done was, of the truth. Eventually that all comes home to roost and - I "reap as I've sown."

I have not always looked after my body. I don't really know, how much it can be improved upon - but I do know I feel better overall when I physically active. I can feel an overall returning stamina and endurance now that it has been a few months of regular brisk walking and the gym. Am I looking to pose on the beach or audition for underwear modelling? A..... NO! But I needed to lose some weight (which I have begun to do, with some still to spare). Frankly I don't want to carry it all, day in, day out. When I bend over (now that this is increasingly a possibility - I still want to breath). The aesthetic is the least of my concerns. I am talking about - quality of life! My life. I can no longer look to what others are doing to justify my action or inaction. I don't know how any of that works out for them .... but I know what messes me up. If you want me to hurt myself in order to be one of the group then take a walk my friend! If I'm willing to hurt myself for that illusory "belonging" - I need to take a good long look at that!

 The new (old work) I'm doing again, involves "home support" of clients in various situations. One can't presently get out of the house much on his own, so parts of the couple visits each day, involve taking him on rather lengthy walks in the wheel chair. Had this been 3 to 6 months ago - I wouldn't have been able to do that. An increasingly sedentary lifestyle habit had insidiously become the "norm," & my previous fitness levels atrophied (as they will). I want to be able to continue to enjoy and active lifestyle (not extreme) - that requires training and maintenance. I can't just step into last year's activity or that of five or ten years ago, unless there has been continuity or preparation. I will no longer subject myself to activities of extremes (which are billed as being "character-building" etc) to do so constitutes self-abuse/punishment. If I decide to take on a more arduous journey - then I will prepare for it gradually over time.

I don't want to live the consequences of my own self-abandonment and neglect. That may sound exceedingly self-evident and yet it is a rampant part of modern culture - this profound disconnection. Looking outside of ones self for validation and a sense of fulfillment/success. The economy depends on it, you will be judged by your peers and those in your community based on it and most sadly, each can have nothing but self-contempt and disdain for failing to live up to the tenets of these ideals.

And now "spirituality" has jumped on the band wagon - extracting untold thousands of dollars laying claim to unfolding for it's adherents the path to "fame & fortune."

Spirituality has nothing to do with what everyone else is doing or believing. I cannot tell you what it should be for you.

It is paradox indeed that I build my "self-confidence" from the raw materials of not really knowing what the hell I'm doing - but learning and gaining wisdom from the stumbling and bumbling that comprise the direct experience of the events in my life. I can assure you, sitting reading and regurgitating memes and platitudes will lead no where. (nor paraphrasing them). If they are not embodied and assimilated they are just hollow words - with no power to change anything.

The internet might have created the potential for greater ease of connectivity and information access; but it also provides a very effective tool for "fucking the dog" & the proliferation of bullshit.

Each of us, is truly the one we've been waiting for. And I for one am not waiting any longer for anyone to tell me when, where or how nor to give me permission to begin.


R. O'Neill (May 17, 2019)


Wednesday, 15 May 2019

A Little Bit of Hurtful ... Is Still Hurtful

Have you ever noticed that many who proclaim: "everything in moderation," are often doing so as a means to justify their excesses? It's not even a claim that has any basis in truth! A moderate amount of any number of things, is not in anyway healthy or beneficial. Large awards in lawsuits directed at various chemical corporations, which produce a broad spectrum of different products (many of which they lay claim to be "safe," are being found to be anything but). Given the side effects of many pharmaceutical products, "moderate use" results in a myriad of adverse effects.

A moderate amount of arsenic won't do you much good - assuming you were wanting to remain alive. The same can be said about carbon monoxide.

It need not be such lethal compounds to cast doubt that  moderate use or consumption as being okay. Why would someone want to indulge themselves in even a moderate amount of anything that is known to be not in their best interest?

Well I've had my share of experience with addiction - so I certainly haven't now, appointed myself to the "soapbox," but it is remarkable how much garbage is produced, purchased and consumed! The whole basis of our economy is based on consumption that is not sustainable or healthy on the macro level (global) or the micro level (personal).

I would also suggest that addiction is significantly more widespread than many people would care to admit ... naturally, because to do so, might mean an indictment of themselves.

In true "chicken or the egg" fashion, part of the problem of getting to the bottom of this wide spread addiction is well, identifying the "bottom." Many of the chosen addictive behaviours that operate within our culture are embraced with great gusto - some are venerated, while others necessary to sustain life. "Productivity," & "busyness;"- are endless heralded as desirable and admirable traits - but what if you're physically exhausted - fried adrenals, high blood pressure, borderline diabetic etc & emotionally/spiritually drained? More work is not going to be helpful. One needs to eat - nobody bats an eye, when you step into a restaurant (even if it's an "all you can eat," - most everyone in there is, hell bent on "getting their money's worth!!"

Many would not consider over-working or over eating a "problem." Especially if they benefit directly from the income yielded from that work. As for the eating, round about the time one's body, no longer meets the narrow (pun intended) criteria of a body image obsessed culture - then it might be considered there's a problem.

I look around my small (744 sq. ft.) condo & the after-math of my various binges with consumption are apparent - so I don't exclude myself from the cause or the effects. The "stuff" isn't bad, wrong etc. it's the profound disconnect with self at the root of compulsive consumption that becomes problematic.

If I use a guitar as a means for personal expression - and doing so brings me joy, wonderful. If I'm out to run away from myself and using the purchase of a guitar (or another guitar) as just another "hit" a desperate attempt to manipulate my inner world from outside myself - well frankly my experience is, that it doomed to fail, it will only "work" until it doesn't. Then the time will come when I not only have to reckon with what it was within me that I was trying to avoid; but I will also have to face the reality of the "wreckage" of my binges which might be chronic clutter and perhaps a decimated bank account.

Historically this has led to my then opening, a gigantic can of whoop-ass and unleashing it on myself.." I failed to achieve this, that or the other thing......" Nothing wrong with failure, in fact it can be a enriching stepping stone to a great many lessons.. The problem comes when I judge myself as a failure (based on judgment levelled upon myself, comparing my life and circumstances on the arbitrary but widely held standards of success and determining .... I simply don't "measure up.")

I have heard enough addictions stories to know full well my story is not unique - but I can only tell my story. As much as I would love to see everyone free from the pain of their disconnection and disillusionment - I can't walk that for anyone but myself.

I still believe for me, the answer is spiritual. Of course to try and define that would be far beyond the scope of this piece. Over considerable time, I continue to discern what that entails for me. It's fascinating for me to realize that "spirituality" has gone from being a relatively repugnant notion in the western world (of course it has always had some presence and adherents)... to now being more "main stream" & true to western world "ideals" - it has been commodified and packaged for consumption.

I may not be the first to acknowledge this, but nonetheless it is vitally important to my ongoing wellness, to own it for myself;  I acknowledge that somewhere in the pursuit of freedom from my addictions through spirituality, I turned spirituality into another addiction and in the doing was trying to represent "oh such a good boy am I;" while at times, using the pursuit, the tools and the presentation, as a means to escape from myself. Paradoxically, I believe a 180 degree turn is necessary in those instances. Of course it would also be true that at those times when "by-pass" has be elected - it has been a necessary "survival" strategy & indicative; that I'm not ready to face some aspect of myself. All in divine timing - to "push the river," is to reign terror upon myself. Not in anyway a self-loving thing to do.

This is not about to become another "shit-kicking" for me. I lovingly recognize what's true - how even if it was working - that is no longer true. Just another square on the game board. I haven't flipped the board over or quit playing the game.  Another lesson presents which can be utilized for my greater good and life's want to expand through me.

Over the last 3 - 4 months there has been a great many changes being implemented in my life. I resumed and am maintaining regular attendance at the gym. I go for long walks multiple times a week. I get out into nature as much as a can (even if it's just to a nearby "green space.")

I am working with a professional guide/therapist with a focus on reconnection and self-love. I have been sitting for 15 min. meditations (mostly twice a day) & this week started a series of 15 min. a.m. yoga routines. (maybe I will extend those sits and sessions - maybe not, the point is, I feel their loving inclusion in my day to day life & they are doable for me at this point). Far better to create some continuity and adherence to short sessions than enforce myself to long rigorous practice that I will immediately hate and begrudgingly drag myself to, until I quit.

I'm also a couple weeks into a new part time work scenario - which I'm able to adjust over time in terms of days of the week and hrs per day (so I'll see how that goes).. it's a "for now" undertaking.

I'm writing this now (rather than lose myself in the abyss of social media). Writing for me, is a spiritual practice.

I need to build more bridges (to myself first) from myself to the Creator, to others and the world around me.

In many ways I lived my life as though I was a walking demolition team. I didn't create the idea that "more is better," but I certain marched to it's dictums. I can no longer live in the extremes. It hurts me, it hurts other people - it hurts nature and the world I live in. Is it any wonder that with all that hurt, I'd seek to alleviate the pain. My story is by no means unique - but I have a responsibility to, and the right, only to tell my own story.

Moderation is not the answer - connection is the key. A moderate amount of a self-destructive habit means that 100% of the time I indulge in that - it is, self-destructive.


R. O'Neill (May 15, 2019)




Saturday, 11 May 2019

Ode to a Young Heart



I
Wanted to 
Love you..

Our 
Introduction
By way
Of
An orphan's 
Debut

A grand
Welcome
And 
the novelty
Rapidly 
Unraveled

Lost 
The number
of times
I've
Heard
"SHOULD"
Be 
Grateful
for
Hearth & home

Architecture 
 Being
A
Far cry
From
A
Loving
Environment

You 
Taught me
To fear
The world
And 
Everyone 
In it....

Would it 
Have been
Too much
To ask 
Me 
What I 
Was interested in?
Let alone
Offer
Support & encouragement

Your
Rage & criticism
Became my
Mirror
Until
It became
All 
I could see

Shame
Fear
&
Self-doubt
My
Embodied
Family
Legacy

You
Claimed
You "wanted" 
Children
While
You complained
Bitterly
About 
The burden
We
Represented

Adulthood
Not
Synonymous
With 
Parenthood


Children
Precious, innocence
Such a gift
Unequalled love

Never
Did I hear
Any 
Such 
Adoration

Love
Was only
Expressed
In 
Conjunction
With
Abuse

How 
Could you believe 
That 
Was in anyway
Helpful
or 
Okay?

Have a 
Responsibility
For 
My own
Life

I will
Stand 
Further in 
That responsibility
To myself
By
Expressing
The anger & sadness
That 
Are 
The repressed
Grief
Of 
My lost childhood

My 
Feelings
Are 
My own

To
Elevate
Your 
Memory
To the
Pedestal
of
Hallmark
Sentiments
Would
Betray
My 
Soul

I will
Be 
Everything
That 
You wouldn't be
See now
Couldn't 
Be

I will
Become
The expression
Of
Love
Compassion
&
Forgiveness 

Not 
By following
Your lead
But
Despite
And
In the absence
of
Any
True leadership

Did 
Love you
It's 
Who 
am

I hated
How
You
Behaved

My heart
Can 
No longer
Bare
Your lies

Will no longer
Carry
Your 
Dysfunctional
Legacy

I will
Foster
The
Forgiveness
for us
Both


R. O'Neill (May 11, 2019)

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Liberated Silence


Locked down
In excruciating
Exile

The voice
Once intended
To 
Herald
Universal & divine
Truth
Denigrated & choked
Into silence
Left 
Anguishing
In a 
Subterranean hell
Where
Slowly & insidiously
The grips
Of 
Insanity
Clamber
To 
Ease the echoed
Scream
Of
The unheard lament

Is the die 
Cast?
The outcome
Inevitable?

Consider 
This possibility... 

As it has 
Been
Through 
The annals 
of time

A unlikely
Protagonist
Embarks
On a journey
That he (or she)
Believes themselves
To be 
Completely
Unqualified 
To undertake

The intrepid
traveller
Becomes an
Archaeologist of sorts

Following
The guidance
of 
Gossamer direction
Which 
In an instant
First appears
As though
Cast iron
and
Then seemingly 
Vanishes

Along
The way
Are met
"The judge"
"Jury"
&
"Executioner"
As well
The architect 
Of
What was 
Thought 
To be
An inescapable
Prison

All
Presented
While 
The traveller
Leaned 
over the banks
Of 
Crystal clear
Stream
And saw 
The 
Truth 
Of themselves
For the 
First time

Insight
Is gained
Still
Liberty
Is not assured

The 
Prison
Will remain
As formidable
As ever
There is no
Known
Magic, army, or device
That can breach
It's walls

Except
The consistent
And
Direct
Application
of
The one 
&
Only
Key

Which 
Comes
In the form
Of 
The voice
of 
The prisoner
Themselves!!


R. O'Neill (May 04, 2019)





Wednesday, 24 April 2019

White Lies

White supremacists should drop any further pretence of superiority and see if they could look in the mirror and honestly claim to like themselves (let alone love). Can they form any a thought, of human decency, about themselves & their right place, in the human family?

How could anyone in their "right mind" (more accurately their heart) believe and propagate that which; on the one hand is such a nonsensical paradigm, on the other hand, continue to use this paradigm, that advantages them so completely, while creating so much suffering for so many?

Towards the end of last year I became re-involved with a local organization that is entirely focused on the wellness of Indigenous First Nations people. I was involved (as a volunteer) some years ago now. At that time the organization was run by a Catholic nun. She has a heart of gold. However for all the good the organization brought about - it was still met with a fair bit of resistance from the indigenous community and rightly so. The flaw in the premise was, how do you connect and administer healing (emotional, spiritual etc.) to those that have suffered at the hands of colonialist systems, with more patriarchal mindsets? (that again I will point out, was over seen by a nun).

I felt called to find out what became of this organization, I had lost connection while I was traveling etc. As it turned out they were still operating in the community, in a new location, with a new mandate. They had "indigenized" (their word not mine) the founding executive director had retired (though I believe she is still involved on the board) for the most part the board is comprised of first nations members and the focus of the activities, gatherings, resources etc. is to support and empower first nations people.

My involvement currently (as a volunteer) is to participate in the Tues. evening dinner that is enjoying a growing attendance. Fortunately for all concerned their are those there that tend to the direct food preparation... my contribution is generally maybe some chopping, setting up the dining area & clean-up. God knows with the challenges some of the participants face, they don't need food poisoning from my lack of culinary prowess as well.

Mine is (in my estimation) a distinctly privileged position (in this I refer to the honour of being welcomed to attend - the opportunity to be of service & maybe in some small way be part of "a solution.") I wanted to make that distinction, so that it was clear I wasn't speaking of "my privilege as a "white male" - I'll get to that.


In that vein, I am the only white person in the room. Most of my life I've never felt superior to anyone. It's taken a lot of work to believe I can walk beside anyone (not greater than, not less than). So in that regard I certainly don't consider myself to ever have been a "supremacist." Still, obviously I have had a lifetime of advantage by virtue of my skin colour and gender selection. This was automatically handed to me - without my having to do anything. I didn't "earn" it, there's no rational reason for it - if I got up out of bed and stepped outside - it was mine.  My position now is I don't rail against "advantage" - I want it equally distributed to everyone!

We have a talking circle after dinner. Again to be allowed to witness and hold space for the stories to me is stunning, humbling and healing. "We" (the "royal" we) meaning white "civilization have fucked over First nations people - well, all non-white cultures! In this there is no "supremacy!!" Absent is any human decency. It is wrong on any & all levels.

One might consider that I am putting myself in a place of considerable vulnerability. As the only "white" person in the room.  Don't I run the risk of being targeted and the projection of everyone's pain? This has not been my experience - not here, nor in any of the other considerable number of circles, I've been honoured to be invited to. I see modelled grace, honour, dignity, generosity, integrity, compassion, gratitude. I am no more vulnerable here than I am anywhere else - which is contingent on how open I'm willing to be with anyone. Perhaps any notion I might have of the need, to fear retribution - is an example of the product of the Patriarchal system I've been steeped in. It doesn't have to continue to be my operating system - but I still need to be aware & acknowledge how it has warped my beliefs and thinking first.

Sure there's one fellow that I met when I first became involved years ago... he jokes and calls me "our token white guy" - I laugh along with him. It reminds me to be aware of what it is to "feel like a minority" - it gives me direct cause to expand my compassion. This same fellow has invited me to accompany him to Sweat lodge - that speaks to me far more loudly than his "ribbing!"

To me the problem with the lasting colonialist imprint, is that it was based on the idea that there was an "Indian problem." There never was & there never will be, an Indian problem. The problem is that white people, believe the first nations people are the problem, rather than clean up their own white privileged back yards.

I resumed involvement in this organization because I wanted to give something back. I get so much from being there, I am both immensely grateful & I often feel I'm not giving enough. Still I believe that nationally, reparations with First Nations communities, is a huge issue; that continues to suffer a great deal of neglect; until I get a better idea - my answer is connecting hearts and gaining understanding ... one person at a time, at the street level.

We sure can't rely on the country's politicians. As usual any real change, needs to happen at the grass-roots.

Racism remains in our midst in the form of wounds that continue to fester from the past, as well as continued traumatization, from current unbalanced policies, and the blatant ignorance & fear based behaviour of would be supremacists.

I'd say it's time for the "Whites" to drop the attitude of "Right" & take a step toward doing the right thing, each and every day.


R. O'Neill (April 24, 2019)

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Thorns in My Side



Side-stepping
The 
Theology

While
Acknowledging
It's 
Everything 
To some

Even though
Fewer
Still
Live 
The teachings
Of
Their fallen
Hero

While 
Others
Desecrate
His name
And intention
While
Renouncing
Their 
Responsibility

What 
Then
Does 
Jesus
Offer
for the
Non-religious


This time 
Of 
Year
Which 
For some
Is the crux
Of 
Their beliefs
And the epitome
of 
All that is
Holy

While
others gorge
On chocolate 

Emphasizes 
A story
Replete with

Betrayal
Denial
Authenticity
Integrity
Truth
Hopelessness
Despair
Suffering
Humiliation
Agony
Violence
Cruelty
Lies
Manipulation
Desperation 
Resignation
Surrender
Forgiveness
Death
Resurrection
Hope
Love

What life
Does not
Traverse
The full spectrum
Regardless
of
Any particular
Belief system
or
None?

Cyclically 
I have 
Known 
Them all

Let us
Drop
All 
Rationalization
Justification
And
Perceived
Righteousness
or 
Entitlement

And consider
When
and
Where
Have these
Been enacted
Including
The most heinous
Upon
Those 
Closest
To us
As well
As those
Perceived 
As the enemy?

Or 
Even those
That present
Differently
Therefore
They must 
Be suspect!

How often
Have 
These acts
Of 
Violence
Betrayal
Cruelty
Et al

Been
Visited
Upon 
The Self?

How does it
Feel
To have
Been
Betrayed
By 
The one
Closest 
To 
Your heart?

Before 
You answer
Look 
In the mirror
And
Consider
If 
Any 
Might 
Be 
Closer

How does it
Feel
To 
Be invited
To stand 
For your 
Brother (or sister)
And instead
You 
Abandon them
To "their fate"
While
Saving your
Own skin?

Did 
The end
Justify
The means?

How 
Do you feel
About 
Your choice
Whilst
It 
Revisits
Again & again?

Have 
Continued
Acts of
Violence
and
Cruelty
Ever
Brought 
To an end
Your suffering?

What 
will you
Allow 
To die
So
That 
You can be
Reborn
Another step
Toward 
The 
Best possible
Version 
Of you?

Is 
There anyone
For whom
Their 
Life circumstances
Should give
Them 
Carte blanche
To 
Hold resentment
And 
Enact vengeance?
If 
They 
Were first
To consider
All 
That comprised
The last 
Days on earth
For Jesus

For which 
He 
Still asked
For forgiveness
For 
All his tormentors


Did
Jesus 
Live out 
His life
Leading up 
To his
Crucifixion
And beyond

Because 
He 
Was the only 
One 
That could?

I say
Absolutely
Not!

What would
Be the
Point
To demonstrate
A way
Of life
That was unattainable?

Did he
Lay out
An impossibly
High standard?

Again 
I would say 
No...

It will 
Cost 
Absolutely
Everything

Then again
Absolutely
Everything
Is at stake!

This 
Kind of Integrity
Led 
To 
A "status quo"
Orchestrated
Execution

Many lies
Must die
In order
To ensure
A life
Worth living

To 
Live a life
Of lies
Begs
The respite
Of death
And
Digs the hole
With
Each dishonest
Step





R. O'Neill (April 19, 2019)